The Island of Dr. Moreau


A shipwrecked survivor discovers a remote island owned by a crazed scientist who is carrying out sinister experiments on the island’s inhabitants.

ACTORS : Burt Lancvaster, Michael York, Nigel Davenport


POSTAGE : Australia – Purchase a single DVD, Postage free via Australia Post but no Tracking

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A sound and respectable adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel

Shipwreck survivor Andrew Braddock (a solid and engaging performance by Michael York) washes ashore on a remote island run by determined, obsessive, and remorseless scientist Dr. Paul Moreau (splendidly played with firm resolve and conviction by Burt Lancaster). Braddock discovers that Moreau has created a grotesque, yet pitiable race of half-man, half-beast creatures and plans on using him as a guinea pig for his unscrupulous genetic experiments. Director Don Taylor, working from a smart and compact script by John Herman Shaner and Al Ramrus, relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, does an adept job of creating a spooky and mysterious mood in the opening third, and makes inspired use of the lush tropical setting. The uniformly sterling acting from a top-drawer cast constitutes as another substantial asset: York and Lancaster are terrific in the leads, the luscious Barbara Carrera is suitably enticing and enchanting as the sweet Maria, Nigel Davenport does well as Moreau’s loyal, hearty assistant Montgomery, Richard Basehart excels as the stern, wise Sayer of the Law, and Lancaster’s longtime friend and acrobatic partner Nick Cravat has a nice part as meek, mute servant M’Ling. The make-up f/x by John Chambers and Tom Burman are excellent and convincing. Gerry Fisher’s glossy, sparkling cinematography gives the picture a beautifully bright look. Laurence Rosenthal provides a robust and stirring score. Moreover, there’s even a provocative subtext about the fine line between man and beast. The movie delivers quite a few memorably powerful moments: an eerie nighttime Viking funeral for a slain mutant, Braddock fighting his baser animal impulses by drudging up poignant childhood memories, and the enraged beastmen revolting against their cruel oppressor Moreau during the lively, exciting, and harrowing climax. An intelligent and effective film.

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